The John Report: WWE NXT 09/13/22 Review
This week’s WWE NXT was the one year celebration of the NXT 2.0 makeover of the brand with a Tag Team Title Steel Cage match, the NXT North American Title was defended and more.
I have reviewed nearly every episode of NXT 2.0 over the last year. I think I may have missed one or two. While the quality of the show isn’t at the same level as the best of the “black & gold” era, there’s still a lot to like about it. I think there’s a lot of talent in this brand in their early to mid-20s getting TV time that maybe wouldn’t have got it in the past and that’s something that will help them further in their careers. It’s been a lot of fun watching the likes of Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller, The Creed Brothers and many others improve in front of us. On the women’s side, Mandy Rose has had the best year of her career after years on the main roster while it’s easy to be excited about the futures of Nikkita Lyons, Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade to name a few.
As usual, I’ll go summary style for the matches on most of the show and play-by-play for the main event.
This episode is taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. My WWE NXT Review archive is here. Let’s get to it.
The Steel Cage was surrounding the ring for the first match of the show. The commentary team of Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett welcomed us to the show. Vic wanted a hug, but Wade had some bad news by pushing him away.
The Creed Brothers from Diamond Mine were the challengers and former NXT Tag Team Champions. They were screwed out of the titles at Worlds Collide when Damon Kemp turned on them. The fans voted for this to be a Steel Cage Match. Pretty was up next as the heel NXT Tag Team Champions that were booed by the crowd.
Steel Cage Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince)
I will go play by play for this since it’s a title match. The only way to win is by pinfall, submission or escape the cage. No tags in this match.
Pretty Deadly tried to escape several times early on. Brutus stopped Wilson on one side of the cage while Julius went after Prince on the other side of the cage. Prince was over the side of the cage, but Julius pulled Prince back into the ring. Brutus and Julius each hit suplexes. The Creed Brothers each tossed the Pretty Deadly guys into the cage. Brutus threw Wilson in the cage again followed by Julius & Brutus hitting knee strikes to the ribs of Prince. Wilson hit an uppercut on Brutus. Wilson jumped off Prince’s back with a double knee attack for a two count on Julius. Brutus got a hold of Prince and gave him a Powerbomb that sent Prince back first into the cage. Ouch. Wilson and Brutus each climbed to the top of the cage where they sat on top so that they could exchange punches. Brutus sent Wilson into the cage. Julius was on the top with Prince and they did a backflip where Julius slammed Prince to the mat. That was impressive by both guys, but especially Julius considering he’s a big guy.
Prince was at the top of the cage while Wilson was chopping Julius, who was trying to fight off both guys. Julius was set up on the top of the cage by Pretty Deadly leading to PD giving Julius a double superplex off the top of the cage into the ring. The fans chanted “holy shit” so they had to mute the swear word on the broadcast. Brutus got back up with a belly-to-belly suplex on Prince, then a gutwrench suplex on Wilson and Brutus did a corner splash. PD tried a double team move on Brutus, but Julius held both PD guys on his shoulders leading to Brutus hitting the Butterball attack off the top to knock down both PD guys and Julius. Damon Kemp ran down to the ring with handcuffs in his hands, but Julius was there to fight off his former ally. Kemp managed to handcuff Julius’ right arm to the top of the cage. Brutus was all alone with a double clothesline followed by whipping both PD guys into the cage and double shoulderblocks. The Creeds worked together to try to break the handcuff to free Julius. Brutus jumped off the top to knock both PD guys down for a two count on Wilson. Prince tried getting out the door, but Brutus held onto his legs to stop it. Julius got a hold of Kit’s hair while Brutus put an Ankle Lock on Prince, but Wilson saved Prince. PD hit the Spilt Milk (spinebuster/neckbreaker combo) double team move leading to Brutus kicking out at two. It seemed like PD could walk out the door easily, but instead they whipped Brutus into the cage three times. Wilson and Prince hit the Spilt Milk on Brutus again for the pinfall win after 16 minutes. The fans booed that result.
Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince)
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good Steel Cage Match with a cheap finish because Kemp was a big reason why Pretty Deadly won the match due to Kemp handcuffing Julius to the cage. They did a nice job of having Brutus show a lot of heart in fighting on his own, but he couldn’t get the win. I liked some of the spots they did in the cage like the backflip by Julius along with some of the double team moves that they did.
Pretty Deadly celebrated the win while Damon Kemp was laughing about screwing The Creed Brothers out of the win.
There was a fan vote to see who would challenge Carmelo Hayes for the NXT North American Title later in the show. It was between Joe Gacy, Von Wagner and Wes Lee. Mckenzie Mitchell interviewed Lee, who said he was going to win the North American Title and Gacy said it was okay because he had important work to do later.
This week on Smackdown: Ronda Rousey “locks in on the champ” Liv Morgan and there’s a fatal four-way tag team match between The New Day, Alpha Academy, Street Profits and Los Lotharios with the winners earning a Tag Team Title match.
A video aired showing highlights of the last year of NXT 2.0 shows. It was a long video that went on for about four minutes.
Lash Legend vs. Fallon Henley (w/Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen)
Henley was joined by her friends Mason “The Night Howler” Ramirez to support childhood cancer month. Henley was aggressive with two running dropkicks. The fans were chanting for both women like they usually do. Legend used her power to stretch Henley against Lash’s shoulder. Henley hit a bulldog and a running kick to the head for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Fallon Henley
Analysis: * That was quick just as it should be for a Lash Legend match. Henley winning made sense for a match where they had a kid at ringside.
There was a backstage scene with Von Wagner and Mr. Stone interrupting Sanga, Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon so they argued a bit. Before the argument, Leon said she had a knee injury that would put her out of action for nine months, so Sanga encouraged Feroz by saying it’s her time to be a singles star.
The trio of Briggs, Jensen & Henley walked up to Toxic Attraction’s Mandy Rose, Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin. They exchanged some words with Jensen doing the awkward guy gimmick saying he liked Mandy’s ti…title, she said in your dreams and Jensen wondered how she knew she was in his dreams. Another lame line. Anyway, Henley spoke up for her friends, Rose trash-talked her a bit and Toxic Attraction is up next.
Let’s Hear from Toxic Attraction
Mandy Rose was in the ring doing a promo saying she’s back from vacation feeling good and looking even better. Rose said that at Worlds Collide she took out the two best women in NXT UK and when NXT Europe begins, she’ll run that too if she wants to. Jayne said that they are the three biggest stars on the brand because they are the supergroup of supergroups. Gigi claimed that they elevated the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles to be the most important tag team titles in wrestling today. Jayne trash-talked some other teams in NXT. Rose said that they have proven to be the baddest bitches in the room while talking about Gigi/Jacy winning the Tag Team Titles again and she is on her way to becoming the longest reigning champion in NXT history. Rose mentioned that Bron and Melo are great champions, but they haven’t had a title reign as long as hers. Rose called for people to put respect on her name.
Alba Fyre interrupted the promo talking about how Rose doesn’t know where Fyre came from. Fyre said that a Scottish person like herself lets the hard work do the talking. Fyre told Rose that she sees her demise because Fyre is going to be the new NXT Women’s Champion. Jayne and Dolin tried to attack, but Fyre hit them with her bat. Fyre hit a Gory Bomb on Rose, then she went up top for more and that’s when Jayne/Dolin pulled Rose to safety.
Analysis: Since Alba Fyre hasn’t been doing much of late, it made sense for her to interrupt and be the one to confront Rose like that. I thought the Toxic ladies did a nice job with their promo. I don’t think Rose will face Alba Fyre at Halloween Havoc in late October, but it’s fine as a TV feud for a few weeks. I have said for months that I thought Nikkita Lyons will be the woman that beats Rose for the title. However, Lyons has been in a tag team of late, so maybe it will be somebody else.
A video aired about Cora Jade talking about how the last twelve months were about her finding himself. Jade said that her match with Natalya opened her eyes to say she didn’t care what people think. Jade called her former best friend Roxanne Perez a piece of trash. Jade claimed she is living her best life, then she trash-talked some of the other women in the division while calling Wendy Choo a “human stuffed animal.” Jade said that she can’t wait to do this interview again on the two-year anniversary because by this time next year she will be the number one woman in the entire industry.
Analysis: Those are some big goals for Jade, but she is talented at 21 years old. I can see her winning the NXT Women’s Title at some point over the next year.
Wendy Choo was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Choo responding to Jade’s comments about her. Choo said she may dress like this (wearing pajamas), but she was a smart person. Lash Legend interrupted, so they got into an argument and Choo mentioned turning the lights out on
“The Super Diva” Quincy Elliott was shown arriving earlier in the day for his debut up next.
Quincy Elliott made his entrance with “Super Diva” on the screens while the fans chanted for him. Elliott is a big dude with some style, so he stands out.
Quincy Elliott vs. Sean Gallagher
Quincy got some offense going with an uppercut off the ropes. The fans were chanting “Super Diva” for him. Quincy followed up with a Yokozuna-style Banzai Drop for the pinfall win. It went just over one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Quincy Elliott
Analysis: 1/4* A squash match to put over Elliott with two moves needed to win. Elliott definitely stands out from the pack. What I like is Quincy’s confidence. When somebody believes in himself like he does, it’s easy for the fans to cheer and the fans like him a lot.
Cameron Grimes was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell talking about how he didn’t need a guy like Tony D’Angelo to be on his side and he’s the man that’s going to the moon.
Tony D’Angelo and Stacks entered for tag team action.
Wes Lee was shown in the locker room when Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes showed up to beat him up. Hayes slammed a locker door on Lee’s head two times. Referees showed up to stop it.
Analysis: An injury to take out Lee for the main event.
Cameron Grimes made his entrance for a match. The story was that Grimes was willing to wrestle this match alone instead of having a partner.
Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Cameron Grimes & Joe Gacy
Grimes was aggressive against Stacks with a running kick to the head. When Tony tagged in, he got some offense going and Stacks tagged in to work over Grimes with kicks. As Grimes was getting beat up in the corner, Joe Gacy appeared and was standing in Cameron’s corner. Grimes didn’t want to tag out, so Tony D hit him with a suplex. Grimes made a comeback by hitting a double hurricanrana on both opponents. When Grimes stumbled back into the turnbuckle, Gacy tagged himself back in with a uranage slam, jumping kick and another slam. Grimes yelled at Gacy saying he doesn’t need Gacy’s help. Grimes ended up hitting a cross body block takedown on Stacks, then a Cave In on Tony D and Grimes hit his clothesline finisher off the ropes for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cameron Grimes & Joe Gacy
Analysis: **1/2 That was booked and executed well with Grimes not wanting Gacy to team with him, yet they managed to work together effectively.
After the match, Grimes told Gacy that he didn’t want him or need him. The fans chanted “hug it out” and Grimes went to leave, but The Dyad guys beat up Grimes. The Dyad hit their double team finisher with the double knees. Gacy told Grimes that was his last chance. Gacy hit his clothesline off the ropes to knock down Grimes and Gacy put a smiley face button on Grimes.
Analysis: It’s better that they kept Grimes as a solo act instead of joining Gacy’s group.
JD McDonagh was shown getting a haircut and beard shave. JD said that personal grooming is a necessity. JD mentioned Tyler Bate losing and his attack on him. When Gacy’s neck started bleeding, he looked at the blood while almost being happy that he was bleeding. JD told Bron Breakker that he has not slipped from JD’s mind and their game will end real soon.
Bron Breakker was up next.
Bron Breakker Interview
They showed a pre-tape interview with Bron Breakker talking to Vic Joseph. Bron talked about how a year ago he was scared shitless, but when he got in front of the audience it was incredible. Bron said that everybody thought he was going to beat Ciampa at Halloween Havoc, but it didn’t happen and it taught him how to deal with adversity. At New Year’s Evil, Bron beat Ciampa to win the NXT Title and Bron said it was an incredible night because it was the first time his father Rick Steiner saw him perform live. Vic mentioned Bron inducing Rick & Scott Steiner in the WWE Hall of Fame. Bron said it was a surreal moment for him and his family and to close the last chapter on their historic careers. Bron said then he lost to Dolph Ziggler and that one hurt. Bron talked about being at WrestleMania in the box and said he can’t leave Texas without the NXT Championship. On Raw, Bron won the NXT Title back from Ziggler and the next night on NXT he beat Gunther in a war. Bron said he proved he can lead this brand. Bron talked about the rivalry with Joe Gacy saying it taught him how to handle himself as a champion. Vic mentioned Grimes, McDonagh and Bate as guys that Bron beat recently. Bron said he doesn’t know what the future holds and his job is to hold the standard that guys set before him. They shook hands to end it.
Analysis: It sounded like a very natural interview talking about the last year with Bron positioning himself as the top guy in NXT. It wasn’t about furthering a storyline or some angle. It was just a casual conversation with Bron talking about what he’s overcome in the last year. Bron has grown a lot and he’s a future main event star on the main roster. No question about it. There are still things he has to work on, but at 25 years old he’s got the best years ahead of him.
Tyler Bate was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell with Tyler saying he was looking for a rematch against Bron Breakker. Bate talked about JD McDonagh reigniting their history last week and if JD wants a shot at the NXT Title then he has to get through Bate first.
Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark vs. Kiana James & Arianna Grace
James started for her team with Stark, then Lyons tagged in and hit a suplex on James, who threw a tantrum at ringside. That led to a break.
Grace was in control of Lyons with an armbar, but Lyons came back with a Samoan Drop. Lyons hit a spin kick to Grace’s head for two. Stark tagged in with a Full Nelson suplex on Grace. When James tagged in, Starks rocked her with punches, James regrouped on the floor and hit a clothesline on Stark. James got a nearfall after a backbreaker. Grace tagged back in with Stark hitting her with a running kick. Grace managed a boot to the face for two. Stark hit her knee 360 move, Lyons tagged in with the kick and split-legged leg drop for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark
Analysis: ** It went longer than I expected with an obvious result. I thought five minutes would have been enough for a match like this. You can tell Grace is still pretty green in terms of her in-ring skills. James is okay, but she’s lacking credibility compared to their opponents due to a lack of meaningful wins. I think Lyons would be better as a singles act.
There was a parking lot seen with Edris Enofe and Malik Blade talking to some guy in a red sweater. The Dyad showed up in the parking lot and got into a fight with Enofe/Blade. Security broke it up.
Analysis: That’s classic NXT booking to have a backstage or parking lot bit to set up a match for the following week.
They showed Wes Lee getting checked by AEW’s doctor.
A video aired about Oro Mensah coming to NXT next week. He’s from NXT UK.
Grayson Waller interrupted Mckenzie Mitchell talking to the camera as Mitchell announced the final four vote-getters for NXT top superstars: Toxic Attraction, Carmelo Hayes, Nikkita Lyons & Bron Breakker. Waller told the fans that they had suck. Waller said that Breakker has been ducking him all year because when Waller gets his shot he’ll be the next NXT Champion.
Javier Bernal vs. Hank Walker
This was set up in backstage segments with “Big Body Javi” as the heel and Walker is a security guard. Walker wrestled with a buttoned up shirt, jeans and regular shoes. Barrett said that Walker is a developmental prospect that works security, so at least they are trying to tell us he knows how to wrestle. After Bernal hit Walker with a slap to the face, Walker tossed Javi across the ring. Javi got some offense going with a dropkick to the left knee. Walker did a Thesz Press followed by some punches and the crowd went wild as Walker took off his shirt to hit some splashes along with a clothesline for the pinfall win after three minutes. The fans popped for it.
Winner by pinfall: Hank Walker
Analysis: *3/4 A basic short match with the fans reacting well to it. Walker is a bigger guy that can make a splash if he keeps improving in the ring.
There was a digital exclusive video with Shawn Michaels offering Walker a contract, so they will probably end his security gimmick and say he’s a full-time wrestler now.
A video aired about some of the entrances in NXT over the last year. I prefer most of Mandy Rose’s entrance as my favorites, but if you’re more into Wendy Choo waking up from a nap then that’s fine too.
Carmelo Hayes & Wes Lee were shown walking backstage ahead of the main event.
A video aired showing Sol Ruca having fun at the beach.
Next week on NXT:
* Wendy Choo vs. Cora Jade.
* Tyler Bate vs. JD McDonagh in a #1 Contender’s Match for the NXT Championship.
* Sanga vs. Von Wagner.
* Axiom vs. Nathan Frazer.
* Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin vs. Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley.
They showed some NXT alumni tweeting about the one-year anniversary of NXT 2.0 including Pete “Butch” Dunne, Raquel Rodriguez, Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor.
The biggest superstar of the year fan vote was won by NXT Champion Bron Breakker. That’s obvious.
The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes made his entrance with Trick Williams for the main event.
Trick did a promo saying that the same thing they said a year ago still holds true today – they are too good to be humble. Hayes said that Lee isn’t going to make it out here. Hayes said he knows dudes like Wes Lee, he can’t handle this life and he doesn’t know what it’s like to be the “A” Champion. Hayes did his usual catchphrase to end it…but here’s an interruption from Solo Sikoa.
Solo Sikoa made his entrance in his wrestling gear looking ready to fight as the fans chanted “Solo” for him. Solo had a black knee brace on since he had a knee injury that kept him out of the ring for about a month, but he’s back in action as we saw on Smackdown last week.
Solo got into the ring with Hayes: “Carmelo, like I said before, I got next.” Solo punched Hayes and tossed Williams out of the ring. That match was next.
Analysis: That was a surprise I didn’t expect. There has been a lot of history here with Solo wanting the North American Title, so seeing him come back to NXT is cool. I think most people (myself included) assumed that Solo was main roster full-time, but that’s not the case. That’s certainly fine with me. So if Wes Lee wasn’t hurt would Solo still get this match? It’s not like they are going to try to answer that question. It’s just a logical question that won’t be answered because that’s how pro wrestling is.
NXT North American Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Solo Sikoa
Solo worked over Hayes with punches followed by a back body drop. Barrett commented on how Hayes was not prepared for this, which is a valid point. Solo hit a back elbow knocking Hayes down followed by a corner clothesline. Solo went for the corner attack, but Trick saved Hayes from that. Solo tossed Hayes over the top onto Trick on the floor. They went to a picture in picture break.
Solo was in control as he squeezed on the neck of Hayes, who came back with a jumping kick. Solo knocked Hayes down with a headbutt. Solo punched Hayes while on the floor, then back in and Williams slammed Solo’s knee into the apron while the referee was looking at Hayes. That led to Hayes hitting a springboard clothesline to take over. Hayes kicked Solo’s left knee followed by a knee wrench. Hayes jumped over Solo’s back leading to a chop block to the left knee for two. Hayes applied a single leg crab on the left knee that Solo had the brace on and that was on for about a minute until Solo got his hand on the bottom rope. Solo started the comeback with punches to the body, then a superkick and a Samoan Drop. Solo hit the running hip attack in the corner like Uncle Umaga used to do very well. Solo picked up Hayes, Williams saved his body from that and Hayes hit double knees, but Solo did not go down. Solo did a popup Samoan Drop for a two count. That was a good nearfall as the fans chanted “that was three” for it. Solo also executed that move perfectly. Trick was on the apron, so Solo superkicked him down. Hayes went for a springboard move, btu Solo was ready for him and hit a uranage slam. Solo went up top, the fans were standing up and Solo hit the top rope splash that’s now called the Flying Solo for the one…two…and three. Solo is the new champion!
Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT North American Champion: Solo Sikoa
Analysis: *** A pretty good match with Solo starting out strong, then he was selling the knee for several minutes and then the exciting finish with Solo capturing the title. It was fine for a ten-minute match. Since Solo was able to stop Trick from interfering and Melo wasn’t able to capitalize after that, Solo getting the win made sense.
The crowd popped big for the title change while Barrett complained that this was not meant to be and said that this was the most unpredictable era in WWE history. Solo was handed the North American Title as the new champion. Solo raised his finger in the air because he’s part of The Bloodline group that tells they are “The Ones” and he had the North American Title in the other hand.
Analysis: I assume we will see Solo bring the NXT North American Title to Smackdown this Friday, so that’s good exposure for the NXT brand. My guess is that they are going to push Hayes to the main event level to go after the NXT Title held by Bron Breakker. I can see that as a main event at Halloween Havoc in October or early next year. Breakker and Hayes have been the top two male stars in NXT over the last year, so it makes sense to do that rivalry at some point soon now that Hayes is without a title. I figure Solo will probably stay in NXT a few more months before he drops the title and is also a regular on Smackdown as well.
The show ended with a video narrated by Shawn Michaels, who helps run the NXT brand and I believe has final say on the product. At the end of the video, they showed a new NXT logo that was white & gold with a black background.
Shawn Michaels: “NXT has been and always will be about developing the Superstars of tomorrow. While we will always reflect and acknowledge the past, NXT is constantly evolving with a focus on the future. Superstars develop and move on, but our message to our passionate fans will never change. We are NXT.” The new logo was shown at the end.
Analysis: The white & gold logo looks good. I see people saying black & gold, but it’s not the same as it was before. I don’t know if the show is going to change that much. The roster is full of people in their early 20s and some into their 30s that don’t have much experience wrestling on TV other than the past year. The black & gold NXT had a lot of veterans on there who had been in other wrestling companies for years before they came to WWE. I don’t know if they will go back to that, but maybe they will bring some more veterans in to mix it up a bit. I’m looking forward to what’s next for the brand.
Three Stars of the Show
- Solo Sikoa
- Pretty Deadly
- The Creed Brothers/Carmelo Hayes
This week: 6.75 out of 10
Last week: 7
I think it was mostly a good show (with some boring parts too) as they celebrated one year of NXT 2.0 while also teasing another new beginning for the brand. There was a surprise ending since Solo Sikoa beat Carmelo Hayes to win the NXT North American Title. Now that Solo is part of The Bloodline group and appeared on Smackdown, I doubt most people watching NXT thought he would win a title on this week’s show. I like how Wade Barrett said that “this was the most unpredictable era in WWE history” because with Triple H in charge, they are going to want to push NXT more. Now you have a Smackdown guy holding the NXT North American Title, so that’s pretty cool to see. I liked how the Solo-Melo match was booked. I think Hayes will be just fine and probably be going after Bron Breakker’s NXT Title soon.
The tag team Steel Cage Match that opened the show was a lot of fun. I liked the story of the match with Damon Kemp costing The Creed Brothers by handcuffing Julius to the cage. Brutus put up a fight, but Pretty Deadly capitalized on the situation to get the win.
A lot of the rest of the show was just average, but they are doing a decent job of getting different people on TV and advancing some stories. I think a big talking point from this episode was the new NXT logo being shown at the end of the show. We’ll see what that means for the future of the brand.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.